Firefighters have accused the Mayor of London of having “blood on his hands” after a Woolwich pensioner lost his life following a fire in his home less than two months after his local fire station closed.
Maurice Cunliffe, 83, died in the early hours of Thursday 27 February, four days after being pulled semi-conscious from a fire in his flat at Riverview Heights on Eglinton Hill.
Woolwich fire station closed along with nine others in the capital on 9 January in a package of controversial cuts ordered by Boris Johnson, meaning that Mr Cunliffe was forced to wait longer while crews from Eltham, Plumstead and East Greenwich fire stations battled to reach him.
Historical data shows that firefighters from Woolwich would have taken around six minutes to arrive at the scene, but on this occasion the first fire engine arrived eight minutes after mobilisation — more than ten minutes after the brigade received the first call to the incident.
Fire Brigades Union leaders say this 33% delay is likely to have had a significant impact on the chances of saving Mr Cunliffe.
In 1998, cuts supported by London’s current fire commissioner ensured the closure of Shooters Hill fire station less than a hundred yards from Mr Cunliffe’s front door.
This near miss one might be of interst too, please watch out what you and your neighbours put on window-sills, thanks you and stay save!
I'm not sure him blaming people not using fire alarms (we all have neighbours like this, don't we?) and a not functioning mobilising system for the poor man's death is of any comfort.
It seems pretty clear though, I'm afraid, that they will not admit they got it wrong this time and stretched the fire cover too thin. They rather let more people die, sadly.
Please do watch out for your neighbours and help them to use their fire alarms with getting a stick or so for them to switch them off easily if it's just a burned toast. These things are tricky for the elderly, please watch out for them, thanks.